As an alternative to its controversial ‘land acquisition policy’, the Haryana government has formulated the Haryana Land Partnership Policy, which aims to establish a partnership between landowners and development agencies to achieve the objective of land development.
Under the latest policy, which was notified on December 13, landowners will be made partners with a government development agency, get incentives on the land voluntarily given by them and get paid an enhanced cost when the agency sells their land. If the agency fails to execute a project on the land taken, the landowners will not only have the option of getting their land back, they will also be entitled to a compensation of Rs 2 lakh per acre in some cases, the policy says.
“Many a time, land acquisitions have been mired in controversies or litigations. Under this new policy, the landowner will act as a partner with the development agency and will also be continuously kept in the loop from the start till the end of the project for which his land is taken. Both, the development agency and the landowners, will benefit from this partnership,” a senior government officer told The Indian Express.
The policy will be applicable “for any landowner or group of landowners or an aggregator who have a land parcel with clear title, falling in the area of the project under this policy, and includes land under the ownership of the state government or any Panchayati Raj institution or any municipality in the state of Haryana; or for land uses as specified in the Development Plan published by the state government; or for land falling outside the Development Plan in respect of a project for industrial purposes only; or for the land utilised inadvertently by the development agency for development purpose without acquisition of land”.
A senior officer explained that as per the policy, the development agency will identify a project and the land area required for it, and examine its “necessity, feasibility and viability” before taking a decision. “On approval for the project, the development agency shall issue an Expression of Interest (EOI) and invite applications. The landowners willing to participate in the project shall exercise their option in writing within the period of 60 days. The development agency shall also facilitate the landowners by setting up help desks,” the officer said.
The land owner or an aggregator can also voluntarily offer land in his/her ownership, of a size of at least 25 acres, through online mode to the development agency, the officer added. “The land owner, directly or through an aggregator, shall also be free to offer land under his/her ownership for the project for the specified development purpose through the e-Bhoomi portal of the state government, in which case the said offer shall be dealt with in terms of the policy for purchase of land voluntarily offered to government for development projects,” the officer said.
The development agency will be required to set up a project-specific company for project implementation. The company will enter into partnership agreements with the landowners and purchase their land at the collector rate prevailing on the date of the partnership agreement, the policy states. Landowners will be required to transfer possession of the land to the company on registration of the sale deed and the cost of land registration, including payment of stamp duty and other incidental expenditures, would be borne by the company, it adds.
“The company shall be required to prepare the layout plan and complete the development works. All development works for projects to be developed over an area of up to 500 acres, shall be completed by the company within three years from the date of complete transfer of project land by the landowners (scheduled project completion date),” the policy says.
“Projects to be developed over an area of greater than 500 acres shall be developed in phases, with time period for development of each phase being clearly specified at time of publication of EOI. The reserve price of sites/properties/plots for the purpose of e-auction shall also be determined by company. The reserve price of sites/properties/plots and the calculation methodology shall be informed online to each land owner who had offered land for the project,” the policy adds.
For sites/properties/plots sold in the project, the policy says that the company will create a pool account into which “all amounts received in excess of the cost per unit of saleable area of each site/property/plot sold in the e-auction process net of taxes as applicable” will be deposited. “The company shall share with the landowners 50 per cent of the amounts so deposited in the pool account in accordance with the value of the land offered for the project by each land owner, in accordance with the sale deed to the total value of land for the project. The balance 50 per cent of the amount so deposited shall be paid to the development agency. This payment shall be made every six months for first five years after completion of project,” the policy adds.
Also, in case a project planned over an area of up to 500 acres is not completed within three years from the date of transfer of possession of the last land parcel on the execution of the sale deed, a compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre should be offered to the land owner on pro-rata basis based on the land offered for the project, the policy states.
If development works of the project have not started in five years from the date of transfer of possession of the last land parcel on the execution of the sale deed, then the following consequences will follow: in case no damage to the land has been caused so as to render the land unfit for utilisation for any purpose, the project shall be cancelled and the land will be transferred back to the land owner on ‘as is where is’ basis by execution of a registered sale deed by the company. The cost of registration, including stamp duty, registration fee and other incidental expenditures, shall be borne by the company. Also, an additional compensation of Rs 2 lakh per acre will be provided to the landowner by the company, the policy says.